Monday Morning Greetings 2020 #14 – The Trick of Turning Weakness into Strength: Part 2

April 6th, 2020

Personal weakness can be classified into two categories: weakness of will and weakness of destiny. We have already discussed turning weakness of will into strength. I summarized that in Part 1:

 

If we use our imperfections, however, even our moral weaknesses, to reflect on our helplessness and humbly increase our dependence on God, then even such weaknesses can be transformed into the greatest strength, the power of humility to invoke grace. 

 

The weakness of destiny has two division: the weakness of abilities and the weakness of circumstance. The weakness of abilities refers to any inherent challenging physical or mental deficiencies that reduce our power to control and enjoy in the world. Weakness of circumstance refers to the challenging circumstances thrust upon us that come and go that are independent of our personal capabilities.

 

Whatever our weakness, whether it is in our ability or circumstance, we can turn them into a strength with two powerful tools: adjusting our goals and adjusting our perspective. For this entry we will focus on turning the weakness of ability into a strength.

 

The first trick to turning our weakness of ability into a strength is to change our goals to meet our abilities. I read an interesting example in this regard in reference to the law of karma that illustrates this.[1] If God gives one a hammer and the goal is to become a concert violinist, the hammer is a weakness. If one, however, changes one’s goal to become a carpenter, then all of a sudden one’s weakness, the hammer, becomes one’s strength. In other words, if we change our goal to align with the abilities God has given us, then what we may have perceived as a weakness can become a strength.

 

It is not that we cannot overcome obstacles and achieve great things, but we are only capable within certain karmic parameters. I have told the story before of a friend, David, who was very short by his constitution, but who ardently wanted to be a high school basketball player. Due to his physical inability — his lack of height — he never even came close to making the team and remained very frustrated. Again, if he had accepted his fate instead of setting unrealistic goals, and focused on a sport more suited to his physical stature, where there were different weight classes and height wasn’t necessarily an impediment, like wrestling for example, then the apparent weakness of his small stature could have been his strength.

 

I have discussed making a weakness into a strength by aligning one’s abilities with the proper goal, but what if one has few redeeming capabilities? Doesn’t one’s weakness remain so? Even if hypothetically one has no redeeming material attribute, one can adopt a spiritual perspective where one values virtue and spiritual consciousness more than anything else. From that perspective, even the most forlorn weakness can be seen as an asset or strength, for challenges in life are usually the forces that most deepen one’s consciousness. And even in terms of accomplishment in the world, a sincere person bereft of any substantial ability or talent can always serve and assist others with more ability than themselves, which from the spiritual perspective is the greatest strength. I always remember the profound words of a simple lady who passed away in Vṛndāvana: “I am not advanced, but I know who is, and I serve them.”

 


[1] I read this analogy years ago in a book on astrology from Vic Dicara.

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